“The bigger risk, however, is still that promising technologies won’t get the early funding they need to develop into successful businesses.”
This quote by Sivaram Varun, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, appeared recently in a great MIT Technology Review article by James Temple. Reading about this problem gave me a sense of déja vu.
Early in my career, when I worked in education through Teach For America, a thought that would keep me up at night was how a lack of appropriate funding for the school hurt the chances for success of almost all of my students. I often wondered, “Is the person with the great mind to solve cancer here but lack the access to support or opportunity to fulfill their potential?”
As I prepared to enter the climate tech space, I’ve had similar thoughts. “Will a lack of funding for early innovation prevent us from solving our world’s climate crisis? Could the next great founder in this space be stuck because of a lack of access to opportunity, aka to angel, pre-seed investors, or alternative funding sources who understand their unique challenges? As highlighted in the article quoted above, it’s true VCs can “avoid another bloodbath” in cleantech by taking a safer route to investing. They can also adopt an investment model that more accurately reflects this sector’s longer cycle for returns. But will this approach create the systems evolution we need to get back on the ecological track? Will it leave transformative ideas on paper instead of in the market?
This is where Venture For ClimateTech comes in. It’s a game-changer in two ways. By offering non-dilutive funding at the very early stage, those who have brilliant ideas can access what they need to get those ideas off the ground. And, by simultaneously becoming surrounded by a robust community that’s ready to help them move forward, it makes the companies less risky for VC follow-on funding.
As a former founder in the hardware space, I would have jumped through fire to have access to a program that offered non-dilutive funding ranging from 25k-125k and support in identifying, hiring, and funding early team members. And that is exactly what our community-driven program is doing thanks to the tireless work of NYSERDA, Nextcorps, and SecondMuse.
So, if you’re an innovator or founder who has a climate tech idea, you don’t have to worry about jumping through the fire. Today is your day to apply for support! As of Jan. 14, 2021, our application period for the inaugural cohort of Venture for ClimateTech is open. We’re looking for the best ideas for climate solutions — regardless of where you’re located in the world — that can help New York State (NYS) reach its ambitious climate goals, which are born out of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Which innovations we choose to support will be based on their potential for impacting greenhouse gas emissions. The program runs part-time over 6 months and is virtual, so you don’t have to be based in New York State (NYS), but you do have to have an interest in this market. And, honestly, why wouldn’t you? Thanks to the legislation passed, NYS has created a ripe environment for climate tech solutions! Can you tell my inner policy and tech nerd are rejoicing over these incredible confluences of factors?!
We understand that our program will be a powerful pipeline that fills a need in the growing climate tech sector. For that reason, we’ve intentionally built a diverse team of staff, board, and community partners who are fully capable of supporting our founders — from ensuring that those involved in the selection process represent the global community we seek to serve through our work in NYS, to addressing the different skills sets and needs within hardware and software-based solutions.
I want you to know that if you’re chosen to participate, we’ll do everything in our power to support your success. This includes helping international founders with the visa process if you should decide, in the future, to bring your technology here.
A tremendous amount of thoughtfulness, hope, and imagination in action has brought us this far. Now it’s your turn to act.
- If you’re a founder or innovator, find out how to apply here.
- If you’re an investor, send us a note to learn more about how you can get involved.
- If you’re interested in working for an early-stage climate tech company, send us a note here to meet the teams.
- If you want to help support our For ClimateTech community and be a part of the conversation, please follow us on Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram, and help us to get the word out.
You have no idea how excited we are to meet you!